A Tribute to Our Lurcher Riley, 2005-2019

Not Dressed As Lamb and Riley the lurcher

I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face, wondering how on earth I’m going to get through writing this post.

It has, in fact, taken me all week to get it written. I’ve come to write it nearly every day and just found it too hard.

You may have seen on my Instagram that on Thursday of last week we said goodbye to our beloved lurcher Riley as he was put peacefully to sleep in his bed at home with Keith and I holding him. It’s taken me till now to summon up the strength to write this post.

I’ve struggled writing this, and it’s now over a week since we said goodbye to our boy and to be honest the pain isn’t any less than what it was last week… in fact it’s increased somewhat.

I’ll apologise now for no link ups or other posts this week, for any errors and grammatical mistakes I might make, and for the deluge of photos in this post (it’s photo-heavy). It’s my tribute to our gorgeous, gentle boy and all the love that he brought into our lives.

I know it’s very self-indulgent of me, but it’s one I want to write now to then look back on in the future when it hopefully doesn’t hurt as much.

These are all the things I want to remember about Riley. This is what he meant to me… to us.

 

Riley the lurcher - saluki/border collie cross

The impact Riley had on our lives

Riley was my/our first and only pet as an adult (we had a family dog when I was young, but other than that I’ve not personally owned a dog before, and neither has Keith). As parents of a dog and no children, he really did make us a family and was absolutely part of the extended family. We were a solid threesome, and I’d often talk about “my boys”.

My parents loved him. Kids loved him. He was the sweetest, most gentle soul I have ever known in my life, and I miss him with all my heart.

Despite his ageing years, we adopted him at the beginning of 2017. I fell in love with him hook, line and sinker because he was, effectively, a canine version of Keith. Silver-haired, long-legged, slept at every opportunity, and the most relaxed, chilled character ever. The two of them were two peas in a pod and absolutely inseparable.

Riley turned Keith – a self-confessed Cat Person – into the biggest dog lover you’ve ever known. That’s the effect he had on people. Keith even started Riley’s own Instagram account.

What happened was that Riley decided we came as a set. He didn’t favour one of us over the other, and he wasn’t completely settled and content unless we were both with him, whether that was out walking or just pottering about at home. If one of us was giving him strokes and attention in the evening, he’d still woof at the other one if they were upstairs doing something.

It had to be both of us. Every time.

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But at the beginning of 2018 the unthinkable happened: Riley was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and we had to decide what to do. We decided he was too old to be operated on – he might not pull through at his age (12 by that point) – so we kept him as well and pain-free as we could on painkillers and lots of love.

In the end, he effectively beat cancer for a total of 16 months (or more, depending on how long the tumour had been there before it was discovered). We took him for regular checkups and although it was still there, it never really got that much bigger or affected him too badly.

The vet called him her “miracle boy”.

However, due to his age he had bad arthritis in his legs as well as cataracts and although he relished his long, slow walks and loved his food, it was clear in the last few weeks he was really slowing down. In the days running up to us deciding that it wasn’t fair to keep him going any longer, you could tell he’d decided he’d had enough. He couldn’t have left us any more peacefully and the vet and the nurse came to our house and were absolutely wonderful and truly compassionate.

 

The grief of losing a pet

The first few days were incredibly hard. And they just got harder as the week went on: yesterday (Thursday) was a week after we lost him, and I had my worst day. Working from home and being alone (though I didn’t do any actual work), I spent the day curled up on the sofa in tears. I only found comfort in looking at pictures of him and watching videos: I couldn’t help but smile at him, and it eased the pain a little.

It’s hard to break the habits you develop when owning a pet. We both still quickly go to turn the volume down on the TV when a loud bit comes on. I still find it hard to stay upstairs too long without feeling I need to go down and give the boy some love. I still pop to the shops and feel like I’ve left him alone too long and need to get back as soon as possible. I still look at my watch and think I need to get his lunch if it’s near that time of day. I still put the clean plates away from the dishwasher as quietly as possible so as not to wake him.

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When you do those things you forget for a split second that they’re no longer with you.

I just can’t break these habits, and neither can Keith. I just can’t get used to him not being around. The sadness I feel all the time is overwhelming.

But this morning I went for my daily walk up the hill, and this time I sat at the top and listened to the birds singing and the wind in the trees and gave myself a quiet talking to. I decided that yesterday was my bad day, and I wasn’t going to have any more bad days if I can help it. We’ve already said that we’re going to honour him (I know it sounds weird but I’m sure you’ll get what I mean) by getting lots of sleep (that we weren’t getting before because of his unsettled nights), doing lots of exercise and eating lots of healthy food because we can.

We put so much on hold before – and were more than happy and willing to do so for our lovely boy – but now we have to look after ourselves and look after our health.

So my thought today was, No more bad days – just sad days.

Riley the Lurcher 2005-2019

I’ll sign this off by listing all the things I miss about our beautiful boy. I never want to forget ANY of these things, because in time you forget the small things. Even if you don’t blog, if you lose a pet I can thoroughly recommend writing this list because it’s those small things that make your boy or girl utterly unique.

Thanks for reading this post… I’ll hopefully have happier things to share next week.

Love forever to you Riley, your mum (and of course dad too)

Catherine signature

 

I’ll miss you, Riley

The dog that wasn’t like other dogs…

I’ll miss your big, expressive eyes.
I’ll miss you standing across our legs and leaning against us with your whole weight while we petted you.
I’ll miss the feel of your white chest hair.
I’ll miss you barking impatiently at Keith while he’s getting your dinner.
I’ll miss being fascinated by your white eyelashes.
I’ll miss you rolling around on your back in the garden and woofing because you were loving life.
I’ll miss you whining while you were “thinking out loud”.
I’ll miss putting a blanket on you in winter and a fan on you in summer.
I’ll miss the sound of your claws clacking across the floor.
I’ll miss you pawing me and looking at me with daggers when I stopped stroking you, otherwise known as The Paw of More.
I’ll miss you pausing and the face you made before you gave yourself a shake.
I’ll miss you making us laugh every single day despite doing almost nothing at all.
I’ll miss you smiling in your sleep.
I’ll miss the sound of you flapping your ears violently.
I’ll miss your noisy drinking.
I’ll miss you standing right in front of me as soon as Keith started taking my outfit shots.
I’ll miss you insisting on walking between us when we both took you for a walk.
I’ll miss you getting up off your bed excitedly when Keith came in from work every night.
I’ll miss you pretending to ignore me when I returned after days away working.
I’ll miss my daily face sniff.
I’ll miss you barking for me in the evening when I was upstairs even though Keith was right next to you giving you attention.
I’ll miss your “horse dressage” routine when we were getting ready to go for a walk.
I’ll miss your lovely non-doggy smell.
I’ll miss you being so gentlemanly and polite.
I’ll miss you disdainfully ignoring any dog that barked at you.
I’ll miss you impatiently barking at the back door to be let out only to turn around and walk back into the house once the door was opened (and affectionately calling you a little bugger).
I’ll miss the feel of your paws when holding them.
I’ll miss you drooling buckets when you ate treats.
I’ll miss you being so utterly, utterly gentle with children and letting them hug and stroke you.
I’ll miss you getting in the way when I’m trying to put my shoes on before a walk.
I’ll miss the way you’d sleep with your legs in a tangled mess of long limbs.
I’ll miss you stopping to sniff every single clump of grass and weeds when out walking, otherwise known as “going on a sniffari”.
I’ll miss you backing your bum into my face if I was sitting on the floor to tell me to give you a good rub and a scratch.
I’ll miss walking in front of you to shade your eyes from the glaring sun when out for a walk.
I’ll miss your licky-licky-chop-chops.
I’ll miss you enjoying all the attention from me then getting up and walking off as soon as Keith came over to give you love as well.
I’ll miss you thinking that anyone putting their coat on meant you were going for a walk.
I’ll miss just how gently you ate treats from our hands and never once hurting us.
I’ll miss the side-eye and whining you’d give me if I hadn’t petted you in the last 30 minutes.
I’ll miss you lying prostrate on the floor in the most inconvenient, in-the-way spot at other people’s houses or in a café.
I’ll miss brushing your long fluffy tail.
I’ll miss you knowing exactly where and which way you wanted to walk – and for how long – each day.
I’ll miss you dreaming and running in your sleep.
I’ll miss kids pointing at you and saying “Mum, dad, look at that big dog!”.
I’ll miss telling kids that “he’s very, very gentle if you want to pet him”.
I’ll miss you sticking your head through the downstairs loo door and looking at me when I was having a wee just before going for a walk.
I’ll miss you sleeping on your bed with most of your body actually on the floor.
I’ll miss you purposely headbutting me in the bum when I was putting on my shoes for a walk.
I’ll miss lying on your bed next to you and you staring into my eyes.
I’ll miss you insisting on walking down the middle of the road instead of on the pavement.
I’ll miss your funny, quiet “woof woof, woof woof” when you were dreaming.
I’ll miss you dropping a snack only for you to look at it waiting for me to pick it up and feed it to you again.
I’ll miss the excitable teeth chatters before a walk.
I’ll miss giving you a gentle nose boop every day.
I’ll miss the fact that you’d stop in the driveway with Keith and not budge till I joined you if I didn’t have time for a walk with the two of you that day.
I’ll miss your big stretches and being amazed at how long your legs (speed sticks) were.
I’ll miss you gently lying down on the grass or your bed then flopping down on your side very suddenly.
I’ll miss playing ‘Riley tennis’ with you and Keith.
I’ll miss you sticking your head over your car hammock between the car seats so you could be as close as possible to us.
I’ll miss the way you walked like a supermodel with one foot crossing in front of the other.
I’ll miss taking you for a walk and being stopped by several people every time to say how beautiful you were.
I’ll miss you always walking over and standing next to me when I’m on the sofa demanding attention before getting on your bed.
I’ll miss you having a sleep outside on the grass even in the winter.
I’ll miss you ignoring most dogs and going straight up to strangers and demanding attention from them instead.
I’ll miss you sleeping for six hours straight in the day and then getting up for a wee four times in the night.
I’ll miss sleeping downstairs with you through the night to keep you from being lonely.
I’ll miss you totally ignoring every command ever given to you or even your name being called.
I’ll miss the way you were a total food snob and carefully sniffed your food before starting to eat it.
I’ll miss rubbing your head gently when you stood next to us.
I’ll miss you walking up and down the garden 20 times before finally doing a wee at 3 in the morning.
I’ll miss us making contented growls back and forth with each other while you were lying on your bed.
I’ll miss getting excited on the very rare occasion you wagged your tail because you never wagged your tail.
I’ll miss the fact that you were only ever truly happy here at home with the both of us here.

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But I can gladly say I’ll never have to miss the fact that we didn’t give you a loving, safe home and every comfort you could have ever wanted. We did all of those things – and more – and loved every single second of it.

Rest in peace, my beautiful boy.

Riley the Lurcher 2005-2019

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126 Comments

  1. July 6, 2019 / 8:18 pm

    Cather ine, while this is a beautiful tribute, my heart aches for you. The connection and love we have for our four-legged children is one that is stronger than what we have for many people. And when one leaves us, it is numbing.

    It’ll take a long time to heal but in the meantime think of the wonderful years you had with him.

    Honest to God, not a day goes by that I don’t think of my beloved Yellow Lab Ruby. She passed 7 years ago at 17 years old. I still cry. I’m not kidding–Ruby was a better person than most people I know.

    Take time to heal and cry all you want. I’m truly so sad for you..and now I’m crying so I can’t see.

    XOXOXOXOXO

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 10, 2019 / 12:01 pm

      Oh Cathe thank you so much for those lovely words, they mean a lot. I can understand that you still shed tears over Ruby – I’m sure I will shed tears over Riley very easily for a very long time to come (Keith too). He’s in our thoughts pretty much ALL the time, but we know it’ll gradually get easier.

      I’m sorry to make you cry, thank you though from the bottom of my heart xx

  2. Angela woods
    July 6, 2019 / 7:43 pm

    I lost my lurcher holly 8 weeks ago with cancer
    Devastated is an understatement life is awful without her
    She can never be replaced but we are going to get another lurcher later in the year to help us and we also wanthe to give a dog love and a good home

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 10, 2019 / 11:58 am

      Oh Angela I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your Holly. I completely understand where you’re coming from – life is awful without Riley at the moment. But it will get better. And I hope when the time is right and you’ve grieved you can give another lovely doggy a wonderful home. Much love to you xx

  3. Maxine Parker
    July 6, 2019 / 7:37 pm

    So sorry to hear about Riley. he definitely had saluki in him. I’ve rescued lurchers greyhounds and whippet for nearly 30 years and it’s never easy to lose any of them. all I ever say to myself is I gave them the best life ever and will continue to do so.
    God bless x

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 10, 2019 / 11:56 am

      Yes he had all the saluki traits of being very aloof and snooty, Maxine – part of the reason he endeared himself to us so much! Thank you for the kind words, I think it’s wonderful that you’ve been rescuing sighthounds for so long, they’re such a lovely breed xx

  4. Brenda Brocklehurst
    July 6, 2019 / 7:01 pm

    Hi what a beautiful write up about your beautiful pet riley it is so hard we lost my Marty a lurcher cross about 18 months ago it is so hard but try and remember the lovely times you had with him he looked a beautiful dog and I am sure you had a lovely and happy life with him apart from when he was poorly take care both of you R.I.P gorgeous boy xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 10, 2019 / 11:54 am

      Brenda that’s so kind, thank you so much… I’m sorry you lost your boy too, aren’t lurchers just the most wonderful doggies? x

  5. JL
    July 6, 2019 / 6:11 pm

    Im sending you love.

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 10, 2019 / 11:53 am

      Thank you so much JL xx

  6. Erika
    July 6, 2019 / 4:03 pm

    This is such a touching tribute to your beautiful boy. I cried when I read about your loss on Instagram, and here I am crying again……it’s obvious you both loved him wholeheartedly. We have an almost 10-year-old ex racing greyhound and get so much out of having him as part of our lives. When the inevitable happens and they leave us, at least there’s some comfort knowing that our love and care gave that doggy its best life. Your lovely photographs capture that happy relationship so well. xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 10, 2019 / 11:53 am

      Erika thank you so much – we’ve developed such a deep love for all lurchers and sighthounds, they’re so funny and full of personality… if we ever get another dog I’m sure we’ll be looking at rescue greyhounds. I’m sorry to make you cry, hold your boy close and give him a special squeeze from us xx

  7. Mary
    July 6, 2019 / 3:36 pm

    Catherine, it’s so painful, that loss, for any pet parent, but what is the alternative; put your heart up on a shelf in a plastic bag for safekeeping and never use it? They bring so much joy. Riley’s life had meaning; it mattered and your words have done a beautiful job of showing that. He fulfilled his purpose and was greatly loved. An epitaph to honor any of us, dog or human. Xo

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 10, 2019 / 11:40 am

      Mary thank you so much for those lovely, lovely words – they meant a lot. He *was* greatly loved, and he loved us back. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful and loving dog xx

  8. Rachel
    July 6, 2019 / 2:57 pm

    How beautiful! He was a truly blessed dog to have you both as his family…I lost my Rottie Molly nearly 3 weeks ago and scattered some of her ashes today where she loved to walk …no more bad days only sad …xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 10, 2019 / 11:39 am

      Oh gosh Rachel I’m so sorry to hear you lost your beloved pooch too. Thank you for sending love – I’m sending some right back to you xxxx

  9. Karen
    July 6, 2019 / 2:53 pm

    Oh Catherine, I am sitting here struggling not to cry with you. You have wrote a beautiful & fitting tribute to your boy. My husband and I have said goodbye to two fur boys over the years, our last was very similar circumstances to you as our cat was old when we got him( though he got to 17 ) and the vet came to the house to put him to sleep. I remember lying him on the bed between us after the vet left and just sobbing my heart out. Some days you’ll feel fine and other days it’ll hit you harder than before . But remember they are tears of pure love you are shedding . You & Keith gave Riley the most wonderful loving home and he would want you to look after yourselves & try not to be too sad …..he’ll be watching over you both. Thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures too. Take care xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 10, 2019 / 11:38 am

      Thank you Karen – yes your story was all too familiar. Some days are okay as you say and some days are not. I’m trying not to be sad at the moment but it’s so hard right now xx

  10. July 6, 2019 / 1:12 pm

    I’m so sorry. He was a beautiful boy and I so enjoyed hearing about his adventures as part of your family. It sounds like he had a blessed and beautiful life with you, you were all lucky to have each other ❤️ Sending love, it’s so hard when these special members of the family leave us xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 10, 2019 / 11:37 am

      Thank you so much Philippa – yes I’d like to think he had a wonderful retirement with us. We were incredibly lucky to have loved such a beautiful soul xx

  11. wendy ormerod
    July 6, 2019 / 12:13 pm

    Sending you both loving thoughts.
    Dogs are so very special.

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 6, 2019 / 8:59 pm

      Wendy I couldn’t agree more about dogs being so special. Thank you so much x

  12. Ray O'Dell
    July 6, 2019 / 11:50 am

    Hi I was so sorry to hear of your great loss, it may be strange for a 62 yr old male to subscribe to your site, but I know exactly how you are feeling.
    Your loss is no less than that of losing a relative. You were Riley’s family and showerd him with love and affection.
    I once read that grief is the price you pay for love so it’s understandable the way you are felling. In one way what you had to do was the greatest act of love you could give Riley, it might not seem so at the moment but given time hopefully you’ll see. I work at the Dogs Trust as A volunteer canine carer and I’ve seen people who feel just as are now and given time you will find another member for your loving home and give him or her, as much love as you have Riley.
    Thinking of you both
    A
    Ray O’Dell

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 6, 2019 / 12:32 pm

      Ray thank you so much for such a lovely comment, those words meant a lot. How wonderful that you volunteer at the Dogs Trust! We’re not making a decision now, but we’re staying open to the idea of adopting again in the future x

  13. Michelle
    July 6, 2019 / 10:07 am

    This is such a wonderful tribute to Riley. I lost my boy of 16 years just 2 weeks ago, he passed away in my arms. He was my heart dog, my love. I’m still crying and I don’t think I will ever stop. Your post is heartbreaking yet beautiful and it was somehow comforting. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 6, 2019 / 12:36 pm

      Oh Michelle I’m so so sorry to hear you lost your boy as well. The hurt is overwhelming, isn’t it… I know it’ll get easier but right now it’s very raw. I’m glad you liked the post (as upsetting as it is) but if you haven’t yet I can thoroughly recommend you writing the same “I’ll miss…” list. Those small things are easily forgotten and it’s amazing how many things you’ll come up with. Much love and healing vibes to you xx

      • Michelle
        July 6, 2019 / 9:22 pm

        Thank you, Catherine. The ‘I’ll miss’ list is a wonderful idea. Love and hugs. xxx

  14. July 6, 2019 / 10:03 am

    What a beautiful tribute. I am so sorry for the loss of your ‘boy’. Lovely photos of you and Riley and I particularly like the one of Keith and Riley with their heads together. Hugs.x

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 6, 2019 / 12:38 pm

      Thank you so much Hilda – it’s a beautiful photo, isn’t it? It’s Keith’s favourite and totally sums them up. xxxxx

  15. Clive
    July 6, 2019 / 8:56 am

    Lost my lurcher not long ago best dogs ever

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 6, 2019 / 12:40 pm

      Oh Clive I’m so sorry to hear that, sending love to you. Lurcher ARE so fabulous, you’re right… if we got another dog it would definitely be another lurcher or sight hound as we love them so much. Thank you for commenting x

  16. Roswyn
    July 6, 2019 / 8:53 am

    Dear Catherine,
    Your tribute to Riley was really lovely, very moving. All of us animal lovers understood every word. I think grieving takes a long, long time, these beautiful fur babies take with them a piece of our hearts. Love xxxxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 6, 2019 / 12:42 pm

      Roswyn thank you – you’re right, I think it will take a very long time to heal. Writing the I’ll miss… list really helped, it’s lovely reading it back even now x

  17. Carole Furr
    July 6, 2019 / 8:17 am

    So very sorry for your loss, Catherine and Keith, a dog isn’t just a dog he is a family member. He brought such joy into your lives so you will treasure and remember and writing all those things will bring you comfort. We only had one dog during our married life because when she had to be put to sleep we couldn’t bear to ever go through the heartache again. This was before our two children were born so Sherry was our child then. We have always had cats and have two sisters now although they are now 11 and starting to show their age. Somehow, although we love them to bits, you never have the same relationship like you do with a dog. RIP dear Riley, you will be forever in your mum and dad’s hearts

  18. Mel
    July 6, 2019 / 7:52 am

    Your story has brought back all the greif that I felt on losing my lurcher FAB over three years ago and still feel even now. To me it felt like I had lost a child that empty feeling .thinking of you and your loss (tears now)) MEL

  19. Maggie
    July 6, 2019 / 7:13 am

    What a beautiful moving tribute to Riley and what a lucky dog he was. You have been such caring ‘parents’ to Riley he would have died a very peaceful happy dog having you love him as you both did. He wil be with you forever and you did your very best for him. Just try and remember all the happiness and love you all shared. X

  20. July 6, 2019 / 6:54 am

    Fair play to you a proper dog owner☝️It’s always hard parting with them I’ve done it many a time from my mums dog after losing my mother was a heartbreaker then my dads lighting striking twicebut the show goes on I love my dogs and wouldn’t be without another as hard as it is when you have to say your final farewell!look at it like this you gave him everything a dog could wish for

    Ali

  21. Ali
    July 6, 2019 / 6:51 am

    Fair play to you a proper dog owner☝️It’s always hard parting with them I’ve done it many a time from my mums dog after losing my mother was a heartbreaker then my dads lighting striking twicebut the show goes on I love my dogs and wouldn’t be without another as hard as it is when you have to say your final farewell!look at it like this you gave him everything a dog could wish for

    Ali

  22. John Oneill
    July 6, 2019 / 6:46 am

    So sorry for your loss of riley such a beautiful dog was crying reading ur blog I have had dogs all my life and it is so hard when the end comes my last two dogs were both lurchers dizzy was a long haired bedlington whippet and oscar a greyhound mastiff they were the most affectionate dogs I ever owned and still miss them every single day just try and remember all the good times it helps a little love all the photos of riley hes a character all right

  23. Deborah Maizels
    July 6, 2019 / 4:27 am

    Hi Catherine, I have been reading your blog for at least a year now and love your creativity and being part of who you are. I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate you sharing how much Riley was a part of your lives. Our pets are so precious and mean so much to us and they are so much a part of our everyday life. I too have a husband and no children and know how much our furry companions become a part of our family and almost who we are. I had to go away and come back about 3 times reading and looking at your beautiful photos as the tears were almost too much to bear. Anyway thanks for sharing Riley with us, he seems so beautiful 🙂 Deborah

  24. Lynda
    July 6, 2019 / 3:16 am

    I am so very sorry to hear of your loss! As a mom to 4 cats, I know just how much our pets come to mean to us. The pictures of Riley are marvelous.

    Take care,

    Lynda

  25. July 5, 2019 / 11:28 pm

    I’m hurting with you xoxoxoxoxo

  26. Dianne Reeks
    July 5, 2019 / 11:19 pm

    What a lovely blog. Beautiful tribute .

  27. Diane
    July 5, 2019 / 10:56 pm

    I am so sorry for the huge hole left in your heart. I lost my Jack Russell Terrier August 19, 2018. The memory triggers sometimes still put me in an emotional breakdown. Wishing peace and healing for you and Keith

  28. July 5, 2019 / 10:30 pm

    I’m shedding a tear for you as I read this sweetheart. Our pets become so pivotal in our lives and to lose a beloved member of the family is so very hard. Love and hugs at this tough time Catherine and Kieth.

  29. Justine
    July 5, 2019 / 10:14 pm

    So sorry Catherine and Keith, I know what you are going through. Over the years I have shed far more tears over dogs than I have over people. Riley was a lovely typical sighthound. A beautiful ancient Persian writing, about a sighthound, most probably a Saluki, and I remember you saying that Riley was part Saluki, is always with me. ” You dipped your pen into my heart, and wrote your name across my life ” It is so true. Thinking of you both, love from Justine.

  30. July 5, 2019 / 10:01 pm

    Riley had the perfect name. After a rough start in his life, he sure landed with his fluffy bum in the butter, didn’t he!? I don’t think a dog was ever more loved and cherished and treasured than he was by you and Keith. I cried my way through the photos and the text of your beautiful tribute post.

    I firmly believe that love is the one thing that is eternal, and I know your love for him and his for you is forever and ever. From experience, I know the pain does lessen with time, but the love never does. I wish you’d had more time with your boy, but gosh am I glad he lived out his final days as a king. Love and bear hugs to you and Keith.

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 9, 2019 / 10:36 pm

      Lisa as you can probably imagine your comment is the one that’s torn my heart apart… I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am – I’m in bits typing this. For you to have entrusted us with your gorgeous boy was the most wonderful thing you could have done for us in terms of enriching our lives with the most beautiful, gentle and loving dog we could ever have imagined owning.

      We loved him with all our hearts and I hope you know that we did everything we could to make his life as happy and as comfortable as possible. We always said that we weren’t really looking to get “a dog”, we always said we wanted “a dog like Riley”. And as fate would have it you were looking to rehome him, and we couldn’t have loved him any more if we tried. As you know we’re absolutely heartbroken – I can’t ever imagine a time when it won’t bring tears to my eyes when I think about him – but hopefully as you said the pain will ease with time. I can’t wait to see you later this week (and probably shed more tears I should imagine). With all our love, C & K xxxxxxx

  31. Pam Burrows
    July 5, 2019 / 9:48 pm

    So sad to hear about Riley, our adopted Lurcher died in February, we had her in 2016 she also died of cancer, all those things you miss are spot on what we miss,the ignoring dogs to say hello to the owners especially made me smile, must be a Lurcher thing, such beautiful loving gentle dogs, I still find poo bags in every bag and pocket .. I miss having to use them ..
    Take care,
    Pam xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 9, 2019 / 10:28 pm

      Oh Pam I’m so sorry to hear you lost your own lurcher earlier this year – thank you so much for sending love. I too keep finding poo bags in pockets of jackets and hoodies xx

  32. Michelle
    July 5, 2019 / 9:33 pm

    Catherine, I am so sorry. My condolences to you and your husband . I loved seeing Riley in your posts – he was so elegant and such a gentleman! It was always so apparent from your posts how much you loved and cared for him. You gave him a great life!

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 9, 2019 / 10:26 pm

      Michelle I think an elegant gentleman is the best way to describe him! Thank you so much, you’re so very kind xx

  33. Jean Oates
    July 5, 2019 / 8:56 pm

    Thanks for writing this and posting all the photos. I am Lisa’s Mom. I LOVED this dog and I am sitting here drowning in tears although they are mostly happy tears. Thanks for taking such good care and loving this regal beast. There has never been another dog like this one. Good bye Riley. Love you boy! Would love to think that I could walk you around the block again one day.

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 9, 2019 / 10:26 pm

      Oh gosh Jean THANK YOU for leaving such a lovely comment – I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, we’ve had such a hard 10 days since the day we lost him. I know how much you loved him, he was SUCH a gorgeous dog, wasn’t he? Everyone that ever met him always said what a beautiful and gentle boy he was!

      We absolutely adored him as I’m sure you know… we were very privileged that Lisa trusted us enough to take care of him, and I’d like to think he had the most wonderful retirement. We’re beyond devastated, despite knowing this day would come eventually, and one day I hope I can look back and smile without any tears. At the moment it’s just very, very hard. Much love to you xx

  34. Tracy Patil
    July 5, 2019 / 8:28 pm

    I’ve got no words. Just cry and be sad and remember all the good times you had together …I’m thinking of you both!! Love Tracy x

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 9, 2019 / 10:21 pm

      Tracy that’s so kind of you – thank you. We’re definitely remembering the good times, but it’s so hard not to be sad too right now. Time will make it easier, I know x

  35. Holly
    July 5, 2019 / 8:08 pm

    I’m so sorry. What a beautiful dog, both body and soul.
    My dogs are both born 2005, both rescues, the centre of my life.
    You’ve written a beautiful tribute to Riley, he’s safe and healthy now “ over the rainbow bridge” and I firmly believe we meet our pets again.

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 9, 2019 / 10:20 pm

      Thank you Holly – yes I’d like to think we meet again one day for some long walks and cuddles.. xx

  36. July 5, 2019 / 7:48 pm

    What a one in a million dog Riley was, I’m so sorry for your loss. This is such a beautiful, touching tribute and reminded me of the cats we’ve loved and lost over the years. Thinking of you all xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 9, 2019 / 10:19 pm

      Thank you so much Vicki – Keith had a cat when he was younger and he always said he was devastated when he lost her. This is so hard for us, thank you for the love xx

  37. July 5, 2019 / 7:39 pm

    Catherine, what a beautiful tribute to Riley. Our pets become our family and give us such unconditional love, along with making us laugh with their quirky personalities, and their likes and dislikes. The memories last forever though.
    Wishing you and Keith all the best. You both gave him lots of love and a great life, he always looked such a happy, content chap.
    Alison xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 7, 2019 / 5:06 pm

      Alison thank you… yes Riley was always so happy – a total snob of a dog, but very happy!!

  38. Helen Williams
    July 5, 2019 / 6:23 pm

    What a lovely tribute to your boy. So sorry to hear of your loss, I loved his photobombs. We have a much loved dog of our own and the list of things you love is such a nice idea.

    • Anne Grimes
      July 6, 2019 / 11:28 am

      So very sorry for the loss of your beautiful boy, Riley. I could feel the love and loss in your heartfelt words. Loving an animal that is such a huge part of your family and then losing them is inconsolable ….I know exactly how you feel Catherine. You were blessed to share such an unconditional love as both Keith and yourself had with Riley … never, any judgement or bad feeling with dogs, just pure love. I was in the same position a couple of years back when my beloved Cleo, the cleverest and most loveable border collie ever died. She had cancer, was operated on a and was deemed better but a year later developed diabetes and had to be injected twice daily with insulin and have her meals cooked. She lived for two more years before all her systems started shutting down and we had to make the hardest decision ever … . My thoughts are with you Catherine, Riley made you both better people as he showed you how to love unconditionally and in return was your baby and best buddy., and such a truly beautiful dog … love your gorgeous photos. Will keep you in my prayers xxx

      • Catherine
        Author
        July 7, 2019 / 5:03 pm

        Oh gosh I’m so sorry you went through that with Cleo – we think Riley was part collie (definitely a saluki cross, when his fur grew long you could see he looked very collie-like). It’s a horrible decision to have to make, but when the time came I couldn’t get the vet here quick enough as I knew I couldn’t bear for him to have another terrible and potentially painful night (he hadn’t been eating so he wasn’t taking his painkillers or arthritis tablets).

        Thank you so much for those kind words and sending love our way, we need all we can get at the minute. Sending love back to you xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 7, 2019 / 5:05 pm

      Helen thank you so much – yes I can thoroughly recommend making the list when the time comes. We never want to forget all the quirks that made him “so Riley” xx

  39. July 5, 2019 / 6:14 pm

    In tears now, has brought back memories of my little dog we had to say goodbye to back in 2016. What a lovely tribute Catherine, am sending a big hug to you in the message. xx Jacqui Mummabstylish

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 7, 2019 / 4:59 pm

      Oh Jacqui I’m so sorry you’re in tears. And all hugs gratefully received, thank you so much xx

  40. July 5, 2019 / 6:07 pm

    “”Dogs lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” – Agnes Silgh Turnbull

    Catherine, wishing you and Keith comfort in the memories of your special boy. Thank you for letting me be part of his tribute.

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 7, 2019 / 4:59 pm

      OMG how true is that quote, MM…? Thank you so much, that means a lot x

  41. July 5, 2019 / 5:48 pm

    What a wonderful tribute to your fabulous furry boy.
    I’m so sorry for the loss of Riley.
    Take your time recovering and be kind to yourselves … sending love to you both
    Ashley xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 7, 2019 / 4:58 pm

      Thank you so much Ashley… I’m just sorry you never got to meet him 🙁 xx

  42. Tracy
    July 5, 2019 / 5:47 pm

    Oh my goodness I am so sorry & can of course totally relate…when you lose a beloved pet you absolutely empathise & sympathise with others who’s hearts are breaking too Our Dexter a Bedlington whippet is a mini lurched type and they are so full of character & always a benchmark for future beloved dogs! By the way Do you know the Rainbow Bridge poem? It has certainly brought comfort to me…you can Google it it’s well known & in the meantime I
    send you healing hugs x

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 7, 2019 / 4:57 pm

      Tracy thank you – I follow a few Bedlingtons on Instagram so know just how adorable they are! I think I’ve read the poem before in the past but I need to look it up again now we’ve lost Riley. I really appreciate the love, thank you so much xx

  43. July 5, 2019 / 5:42 pm

    Oh, Catherine, what a beautiful tribute to him : and I’m seriously struggling not to cry reading this, not just because it’s obvious how much he meant to you both, but because it brings back such vivid memories of when we lost Rubin. It was honestly one of the worst and hardest things either of us have had to go through, and I have to admit, it took a long time for things to start feeling normal again – he was such a huge part of our daily routine, that every single thing we did just felt “wrong” for a while without him there. I’ve always thought that the fact that dogs don’t live as long as humans do is one of the saddest things in the world, so I really feel for you both right now, and am glad to know you’re finding some comfort in looking at your photos of him: he was such a beautiful boy!

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 7, 2019 / 3:08 pm

      Oh gosh Amber I remember how sad I was for you when you lost Rubin, and I remember thinking how I couldn’t imagine the pain knowing that it would happen to us one day. It’s the daily routine changing that really brings it home, isn’t it. Thank you so much for your lovely comment x

  44. July 5, 2019 / 5:33 pm

    I’m very sorry for your loss, Catherine. My husband and I have lost many “fur children” and it never gets any easier. Riley was so lucky to have had you and Keith to love and care for him and I know he loves you still.

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 7, 2019 / 3:05 pm

      Debbie thank you, those words mean a lot x

  45. July 5, 2019 / 5:13 pm

    Beautiful writing! I was really touched by your words. Our pets have a special place in our hearts. I’m sorry for your loss, I know it is a difficult one. Our dog was poisoned years ago and I still miss her dearly. My husband and I often talk about her and we try to remember the happy moments. We take comfort in the fact that we gave her a good life, we really gave her all our love and care. It is sometimes hard to explain to someone who isn’t an animal lover how much a pet can enrich your life. Your post is such a beautiful tribute to your doggie.

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 7, 2019 / 3:04 pm

      Ivana thank you so much, I’m so incredibly sorry for the loss of your own dog… I cannot begin to imagine how horrific that must have been for you. I’m so glad the post touched you, much love to you x

  46. Mona
    July 5, 2019 / 5:11 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss and admire your tribute to Riley. I have tears in my eyes! A dog leaves paw prints all over your heart and will never be forgotten.

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 7, 2019 / 3:02 pm

      Thank you Mona – you’re absolutely right, his paw rights are right across our hearts xx

  47. July 5, 2019 / 5:10 pm

    Oh Catherine, I know we’ve been in touch during the week, but I want to say to you and Keith again that I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how much Riley meant to you and the girls in our WhatsApp chat knew how much he changed your lives. Losing a pet is so hard. You and Keith were wonderful parents to him and you gave him THE best end of life. Lots of love my darlings xxxx P.S. So many beautiful photos xxxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 7, 2019 / 3:01 pm

      Oh Liz thank you… you’ve met Riley, you know the effect had on people! thank you so much for all your love this week and those kind words. Love you xx

  48. Susan
    July 5, 2019 / 5:09 pm

    I’m so sorry. A beautiful gentleman through and through. Thank you for posting such beautiful pictures. Your love and care of him is admired.

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 7, 2019 / 2:57 pm

      Susan thank you – yes he was the perfect gentleman… and so handsome x

  49. Patricia
    July 5, 2019 / 4:33 pm

    Hi Catherine, I’m so sorry to hear this, you both have my condolences. To be honest, I’m not a dog – or a cat – person, just never had one at home and I’m a little bit scared of them, but I have shed a few tears reading this. The photos are truly lovely – Riley was such a poser, in a good way! – I can see how much you both loved him. Wishing you all the best.

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 5, 2019 / 4:59 pm

      Patricia thank you so much, I know that people who aren’t dog or cat owners (or people) sometimes don’t ‘get it’, and even though I’ve always loved dogs I now REALLY love all dogs after owning Riley. Your kind words mean a lot!

      Funnily enough he converted a friend’s daughter who was actually very frightened of dogs – after the first day of a weekend spent together she was holding him on the lead when we all went out walking together, he was that gentle. And he was so big she wasn’t much bigger than him herself, she was only about 9 at the time xx

  50. July 5, 2019 / 4:33 pm

    Ii wasn’t easy to finish this post without tears… I am so, so sorry for your loss, Catherine!

    Tatiana

    • Catherine
      Author
      July 5, 2019 / 4:55 pm

      Thank you Tatiana – I’m sorry I made you cry…! x

    • simo
      July 6, 2019 / 9:47 pm

      i know how you feel. i myself have just lost my girl. got her from kennels. she was about 12. she had cancer. only had her year and half but she’s very much missed. hole now where she’s been. and lost my big boy 2 years now. they give so much. give them your heart and they give theirs right back.

      • Catherine
        Author
        July 7, 2019 / 2:59 pm

        Oh Simo your story sounds like ours… how wonderful that you also gave an old dog a lovely home. I’m so sorry for your loss x

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